Jet Train

General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

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Postby Irish Chieftain » Tue Aug 01, 2006 12:43 am

Is it possible to use a standard freight engine (like SD 70 ACE , SD 70 M-2 , Dash9 or GEvo) to haul passenger trains?
Not at high speeds. They tried that with the SDP40F and SD45 and that didn't work out very well. The F40C didn't operate faster than 70 mph on its tracks (officially). The U34CH and P30CH might have performed better, but there are no definite records of such. "Standard" freight engines (which originally were built for "special" duties—note what SD stands for on the EMD locos) are built with a bent towards hauling tonnage at relatively low speeds, not for high-speed stability, sustainability and trackability with passenger trains.

The GEVO is a prime-mover, not a locomotive; and GE might make that available in a new Genesis if anyone's interested in buying the series again (although what top speed it may be geared at is certainly up for debate).
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Postby Champlain Division » Sun Dec 16, 2007 9:59 pm

I saw on the New York State Railfan Forum "Turbos NYS" that JetTrain is now parked out at Pueblo, CO at the USDOT/FRA Transportation Technology Center.

Anyone know what it's doing there? You couldn't ask for much better an environment to store it in. Does TTI tend to be a boneyard for retired experimental railroad equipment?

I suspect the Univ of Texas may be getting ready to install their experimental "flywheel" technology in it. Somehow, I sense the old girl still has some life left in her.

Anybody know who "owns" JetTrain? I know FRA put the lion's share of the funding into it. I guess, if she's gonna be sold or scrapped, they would be the ones to make the decision.
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Postby Nasadowsk » Mon Dec 24, 2007 5:12 pm

Yes, it's just being dumped there at the US DOT's interesting boneyard.

The flywheel's a dead project, anyway.

As for JetTrain, with oil where it is and no HSR projects on the horizon, it's dead. Cali's already stated their HSR is going to be electric, and Florida's finally realized that an HSR system with no real destinations and no local transit AT those destinations, is rather silly.

In any case, if Florida does ever revive their HSR efforts, they'll inevitably be electric - a LOT of the proposed new nuke plants are in the southeast. That'll mean cheaper electricity, making the economics of electric operation that much more attractive.

Given the JetTrain's been around for about 7 years with no buyers, I'm guessing the economics still don't work out. They didn't when oil was $25 a barrel, they sure as heck don't now. Even the DOT's realized that, it seems.

The FRA or the DOT likely owns it. They never really scrap old projects, just toss them into a quiet corner and forget about 'em. Rumor has it the air cushion vehicle experiments of the 70's are still floating (heh) around there. I'm guessing DOT involvement in the LIRR's turbos in the 70's is part of the reason they hung around so long in yards too (I think the last was junked in the late 90s?).

FWIW, a few RTG sets are sitting in some guy's yard out west, I think in Ohio.

With Iran and France no longer running their turbos, I don't think there's a single gas turbine powered train anywhere in the world now, in service. It was an interesting chapter of RR history, but it never went anywhere.
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Postby DutchRailnut » Mon Dec 24, 2007 5:42 pm

The Jet train is basicly the only spare Acela powercar shell in existence so I doubt the Jet train will be used for crash testing.
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Postby Champlain Division » Mon Dec 24, 2007 11:37 pm

Long Island Railroad Turbos? I have not heard of this! Enlightenment....Please!
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Postby DutchRailnut » Tue Dec 25, 2007 9:38 am

CHeck LIRR forum there is entire tread, scrapped in early 1980's.
A M1 shell with a small turbine mounted opposite cab at roof level, they could run on third rail or turbine, the units were not a big succes.
LIRR had 8 cars, 4 built by Garrett and 4 built by GE.
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Postby lb101 » Sat Jan 12, 2008 11:03 pm

I was reading a article not to long ago and saw a old NYC BUDD RDC with two F-4 jet engines strap on top doing testing back in the 50's or 60's as a high speed test bed for future high speed service going up to Albany.
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Postby DutchRailnut » Sat Jan 12, 2008 11:19 pm

sorry Pride of the Central had nothing to do with highspeed Albany service.

In what was billed as an experiment toward high speed rail, the New York Central (NYC) fitted a pair of jet engines atop one of their RDCs and added a shovelnose front to its cab. This RDC, which NYC had numbered M497, set the United States speed record in 1966 when it travelled at just short of 184 mph (296 km/h) between Butler, Indiana, and Stryker, Ohio. Most sources agree, however, that this was purely a publicity stunt on the part of the NYC

http://www.midwesthsr.org/pdfs/M-497online.pdf
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Postby Champlain Division » Sun Jan 13, 2008 8:58 am

Just a technical point. The engines on the M-497 were not from an F-4; they were Pratt & Whitney J-47 engines from a Convair B-36 Peacemaker strategic bomber.
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Postby Nasadowsk » Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:44 pm

The J-47 was a GE engine. IIRC, a single spool type that was notorious for taking forever to go from idle to max power. Most early turbojets were bad like this, until the JT-3 came out, which was a huge advance forward for its time. FWIW, the JT-3 powered the 707, and the JT-3D variant still powers the B-52
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Postby Champlain Division » Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:41 pm

Ooops! My bad. You're right. I always confuse the manufacturers of the J-47 and the J-57. (J-47 = G.E...Whack! J-47 = G.E....Whack!)

FWIW, I believe the JT-3 you mention was the J-57 in military parlance. This engine powered B-52A thru G models. However, I think the TF-33 engines that currently power the remaining B-52H models are based on P&W's JT-8D.

For everyone else: A lot of people mis-identify the engine nacelle/pods structure on the M-497 as being from a Boeing B-47 bomber. The "outrigger" engines in their pods on the B-36 look very similar to those of the inboard "armpit" engines on the B-47. Hence their being mis-identified easily at first glance. The B-36 had been recently retired from SAC frontline service and the B-47 was it's replacement. The M-497 having been tested at the same time precludes its engines as being from B-47 origin.

Also FWIW, The M-497 will probably always hold the honor of being the Western Hemisphere's only purely Turbojet Powered Train. All subsequent turbine electric or turbine hydraulic designs use Turboshaft engines similar in design to those used in helicopters or turboprop aircraft.

Incidentally, had I designed the M-497, I would have placed the engines on top of, or in place of, the "dome" where the RDC engine is housed. That would have more evenly distributed the weight especially seeing as adhesion/tractive effort of the front wheels would not be an issue.

(Man, I wish I could'a seen that thing in action! Is there any video/dvd available?)
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Postby Nasadowsk » Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:04 pm

Champlain Division wrote:Ooops! My bad. You're right. I always confuse the manufacturers of the J-47 and the J-57. (J-47 = G.E...Whack! J-47 = G.E....Whack!)

FWIW, I believe the JT-3 you mention was the J-57 in military parlance. This engine powered B-52A thru G models. However, I think the TF-33 engines that currently power the remaining B-52H models are based on P&W's JT-8D.


JT-3 = J-57
JT-3D = TF-33
JT-8 = J-52
JT-8D = no mil number

The JT-8 is a JT-8D without the fan sections, the -8D evolved from it. Actually, they really aren't that close in detail, but the -8D evolved from the -8.

A very few Boeing 720s and such had JT-4s, which I believe are J-75s to the military. There never was a turbofan version of that engine.

Turbofan on the JT-3D was generous, I think it's like a .2 something bypass ratio.

The '3 was the motor that cemented Pratt's reputation for jet engines that didn't quit. Then the 9D came out - it's been all down hill from there...

(Even in the later years, the 9 was a troubled motor)

These days, failure rates on large turbofans are so low it's insane. Especially for a powerplant that can stay at high power for 24 hours. Any of the current turbofans are truly remarkable motors.

The PT-6 is what powered the ever popular TurboTrain (tm). The JetTrain had a related (ST-40?) motor. I think some of the LIRR ones had a Garret unit in them.

Ironically, as bad as they are at prime movers, gas turbines actually wouldn't make too horrid HEP motors - they love that nice constant load, plus you could use the bleed air to replace the compressor ;)
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Postby DutchRailnut » Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:15 am

Ok back to our regular programming(topic)trains
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Re: Jet Train

Postby Champlain Division » Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:30 pm

Hey, guys!

I found some great footage of the M-497 in action! :wink:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqAKMbqlI7U
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Re: Jet Train

Postby Champlain Division » Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:22 am

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